Study Abroad (your comfort zone)

In doing a simple google search for ‘study abroad’ one will find money hungry companies feeding from slogans such as ‘the experience of a lifetime’ and ‘something you’ll never regret’ and then they continue to list the infinite reasons to pack up your life and study outside your own little world.

With thousands of aussies travelling to popular destinations such as America, Europe and Asia to enrich their University experience with a splash of extra culture – students from all over the world have those same desires, but in Australia.

Do we provide the experience they are looking for?

This takes us back to the simple principle: to treat others the way you would like to be treated.

Ciao, Aloha, Kia Ora, Malo e Leli, Bonjour and Hello to the students of the world.

If you ask University students ‘why are you at uni?’ you are bound to get an ocean of answers but each share a common denominator – for the experience, for life and for themselves. So if we all share the same hopes – why is an Australian studying in Australia bound to have a better experience than an Indian studying in Australia?

The statistics from the late 2000’s show that “…1447 Indians were the victims of crime including robberies and assaults” within Australia – definitely not the ‘experience of a lifetime’ and it is as far as humanly possible from ‘something you’ll never regret.’

But why does this happen when “…most international students want closer interaction with local students, and are prepared to take risks to achieve this?” (Marginson 2012: 1, see also Vogl and Kell 2011)

Because Australians are ethnocentric (a fancy word for racist) believing that their culture is superior to any other, it is through this ethnocentricity that international students are forced to build their own agency, or initiative, to undertake day-to-day activities in another country, with another language, with different street signs and public transport.. all on their own.

What is interesting though is that domestic students as well as the broader community have this attitude towards international students, but when you take a step back and think about it, the internationalisation of education in Australia has opened the doors to a whole range of options for domestic students that are generally taken for granted. For instance, if it weren’t for the upfront fee policy for international students Universities in Australia would not be able to operate on the large scales that they do and domestic students wouldn’t have the lovely ‘study now pay later’ option they do. ‘Oh no no no the government pays our fees first’ – Um, no. The international student in your group assignment you laugh about behind their back does.

References:

Khorana, S 2014, ‘Internationalising education – cultural competence and cosmopolitanism’, powerpoint slides, BCM111, University of Wollongong, viewed 23 August 2014.

Marginson, S 2012, ‘Morphing a profit-making business into an intercultural experience’, powerpoint slides, International education as self-formation, University of Wollongong, viewed 23 August 2014, pp 1-11.

L. Wilson, ‘Simon Overland admits Indians are targeted in attacks,’ The Australian, 2014, Simon Overland admits Indians are targeted in attacks, The Australian: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/simon-overland-admits-indians-are-targeted-in-attacks/story-e6frg6nf-1225821804456?nk=666152aadb405b1375eb23ed0ec3508d. Viewed 24 August 2014.

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